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How to Shorten a VW Pan
By David Helland - Club Member #50
Page 2 of 4

Bubble Level Once the pan is clean, the next step is to support it about 2 feet off the ground so that it is perfectly level and convenient for cutting and welding. To level the pan, place a bubble level on the straight part on top of the tunnel in front of the shift lever and adjust the supports front and rear to center the bubble. The flat part of the tunnel just in front of the rear access hole should also be level. The pan must also be leveled from side to side. This is accomplished by first placing a straight edge across the shock towers of the front suspension and then adjusting for side to side level. Then place a straight edge across the rear cast suspension mounts to level the rear of the pan.

Level Fron/Rear     Cross Measure

Now make criss-cross measurements to verify that the frame is straight. Measure the distance from the top of one front shock tower to one of the body attachment bolt holes in the opposite rear cast suspension mounts. Repeat the measurement using the other front shock tower and opposite rear mounting bolt hole. The measurements should be the same within an 1/8 inch or so. We will repeat this process to guarantee alignment after the 14-1/4 inches have been removed and the two halves are pushed together.

Mark Floor PanTo make a template for marking the pan section to be removed, cut a piece of construction paper exactly 14-/4 inches wide and about 30 inches long. Lay the template on the floor pan with one of the long edges just touching the rear of the seat support rails. Use a silver drawing pencil to draw two parallel lines from the side of the pan over to the bottom edge of the tunnel.

Repeat the procedure on the other side of the pan. Now lay the paper over the tunnel about two inches behind the emergency brake bracket. Line up the template so that the edges of the paper match the lines just drawn on the floor pan. Use the silver drawing pencil to trace the edge of the paper over the tunnel at the front and rear of the paper template.

Mark Tunnel     Tunnel over 

It is now time to cut using a reciprocating "sawsall" (an air powered cutting tool can also be used). It is important to not cut through the tubes Cut Tunnel that are located inside the tunnel so special care will have to be taken to locate and avoid them. Use the saw to just barely cut through the front top corners of the tunnel just behind the emergency brake. Stick a hacksaw blade through the cut to feel where it is safe to cut. You can also shove a "snake light" into the rear access cover to illuminate the interior of the tunnel. When you know where it is safe to cut, go ahead and cut down the sides of the tunnel. The rear cut is trickier because the tubes for the emergency brake are flush with the sides of the tunnel. Be extremely careful to cut through only the tunnel and not through the tubes. During the cutting process a helper should apply oil to the saw blade so that the job uses a couple of blades rather than a dozen. To remove the tunnel section you must saw along the bottom just flush with the floor.

Cut Along Bottom     Slot Tunnel

Don't cut up this piece because we will use it later to strengthen the tunnel. Use a disk grinder to cut a slot in the tunnel so that the saw blade can be inserted.

Remove Tunnel Section     Support Frame

Once the top of the tunnel has been removed, put supports under the middle of the car and cut the sections out of the sheet metal floor.

It is best to cut the floor just inside the lines so that there will be a slight overlap when the halves are put back together. Then use a straight edge to draw two lines on the remaining bottom section of the tunnel and cut it out.

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